Firehouse Crab Boil

June 08, 2010

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“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” – Chinese proverb

Surfside, Texas

It’s been quite sometime since I’ve gone to the beach. Unfortunately Austin doesn’t have any except for a creek that runs through the city and a few polluted streams through the University of Texas. There’s something about seeing how far that horizon stretches where the water meets the sky. So after finals, we took off to Surfside! It was about 4 hrs from Austin. After checking into the motel, we went straight to bait shop to get some live bait. Yep, alive and jumping shrimp. Nasty little suckers. You’d be surprised to see how much their stingers hurt.

 I saw this guy when I stepped out of the shop. Poor thing didn’t know he was shuffling himself to his doomsday toward the bait shop.

 I was so excited when I saw big colorful umbrellas all up and down the jetty. I thought they were food stands… 10 minutes in and I was already seeing mirages. Imagine if I went up the fishermen asking for a soda and bag of chips. Seriously though, someone should set up shop and fry up the freshly caught fish.

After a couple of mishaps and loss of about 4 strings, I caught my first fish of the day!

This really nice old man took pity on me and taught me how to cast out my line and gave me a small net to scoop up the bait shrimp. And then he crushed my boost of confidence by catching a stingray.

And the next day we crabbed along the beach. We were pulling in 2-3 crabs every 30 minutes.

Have you ever seen a pregnant crab? This was the first time I encountered one… I must say they do have raging hormones. Vicious little suckers.

And we tried a bit of fishing from the beach and then we caught sharks…It took it while to convince me to go back into the water. The boyfriend says that they’re bottom feeders, but I’m not convinced.

(Boyfriend: See elongated snout, bottom facing mouths, and most importantly, lack of discernible teeth.)

Firehouse Crab Boil
-Adapted from Emeril-

4 cups crawfish, shrimp, and crab boil seasoning (recommended: Zatarain’s)
1 can beer
2 lemons, halved
2 onions, halved
5 heads garlic, smashed
1 dozen live blue crabs
5 red potatoes
3 ears fresh corn, shucked, silk removed and cut into thirds
3 smoked sausages
1/2 cup mushrooms

  • In a large pot combine the crab seasoning, beer, lemons, onions and garlic. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the crabs, potatoes, corn, and smoked sausage. Cover the pot and bring to a boil for 6 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and add the mushrooms and shrimp. Cover the pot and let sit for 15 minutes.
  • Let the crabs sit in the water for at least 1 hour before serving. You can let the crabs sit until completely cool, if desired, or you can serve the crabs warm.


Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.